Consumer spending between Thanksgiving and Christmas has revealed a major shift in how people are celebrating the holidays.
Overall, shoppers spent 7.9% more this year than they did in 2014, excluding gas and vehicle purchases — outpacing last year’s 5.5% increase, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse data. The data includes purchases made with credit cards, debit cards, cash, and checks.
But shoppers aren’t necessarily buying more gifts.
Instead, they are spending more on entertainment and experiences, and particularly on dining out.
Restaurant spending doubled on Christmas day this year compared to last year, according to Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president of market insights for MasterCard Advisors.
“It looks like we didn’t go to Grandma’s house this year,” Quinlan told Business Insider. “Nobody cooked.”
Restaurant spending has been on the rise all year. Outside of the holidays, spending in that category this year has increased by 8% to 10% over last year.
Lodging and airline spending are also up this year.
“You can really see this trend of experiential spending,” Quinlan said. “Consumers would much rather create a memory now than buy stuff.”
People are also buying more big-ticket items, such as furniture.
There was also a huge jump in furniture purchases between Black Friday and Christmas, according to Quinlan.
Even millennials, who are delaying buying homes, are taking part in the trend.
“They may be renting homes, but they are clearly buying furniture,” Quinlan said.
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